March 28: NY developer buys 4 Central Delaware piers | PA DEP okays injection wells | Diversity, Innovation and Technology Summit

Prominent New York real estate firm the Durst Organization has purchased four Delaware River piers just north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from Brandywine Realty Trust for $21.4 million, Jacob Adelman reports. Durst plans to develop the 5.23-acre site, which includes Dave & Buster’s, Morgan’s Pier, and Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse, into an apartment complex. Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s Joe Forkin believes that such large-scale developments indicate that the city’s “small, implementable” public space projects do help spur adjacent private investment for bigger proposals, such as the recent public and philanthropic commitment of $225 million to cap I-95 and build large new waterfront park at Penn’s Landing.

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have approved two new underground injection wells to take in wastewater from the oil and gas industry, StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Marie Cusick reports. In response to fears that the wells could trigger man-made earthquakes, the state Department of Environmental Protection released the special conditions put in place for the two permits to ensure the early detection of seismic events. “Pennsylvania has been leading the nation, if not the world, in recycling flowback water,” says DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management head Scott Perry.

How does President Trump’s proposal to defund the Legal Services Corporation, the federally-chartered funder of civil legal assistance for low-income Americans, affect Pennsylvanians? In an op-ed for the Philadelphia Citizen, Alex Braden warns that the consequences will be calamitous for “citizens who depend on free legal services and for the lawyers who earn their livings providing those services.” Furthermore, Braden points to a 2011 study by the Pennsylvania Finance and Budget Committee and the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts program found that “for every dollar spent on legal aid, approximately $11 of quantifiable economic outcomes and savings were realized for all residents of Pennsylvania.” For further reading on Philadelphia legal aid for low-income residents, PlanPhilly’s Jake Blumgart reported last week that approximately 1.5 percent of renters have access to legal aid and 6.7 percent are represented by pro bono work attorneys.

The National Association of Black Journalists Region I will host its “Diversity, Innovation and Technology Summit” in Philadelphia this Saturday. The Philadelphia Tribune reports that NABJ chose Philadelphia to address how innovation projects such as the Comcast Technology Center, the uCity Square Project, Pennovation Center, and the Schuylkill Yards plan to engage nearby predominately African-American communities. NABJ hopes the summit can serve as a bridge to connect organizers and community leaders on issues such as workforce development, community access to on how to utilize technological resources, and local, minority and women-owned procurement opportunities.

Following Saturday’s crash in Arizona, Uber announced that it would indefinitely halt its autonomous-car testing. Three days later, the company’s self-driving cars returned to Pittsburgh streets. Mayor Peduto hopes that Uber’s choice to shut down operations temporarily and share updates with Pittsburgh officials indicates that the company is willing to share important information with transparency and be held accountable when testing out products on public streets that could affect public safety. Pennsylvania lawmakers held a joint hearing last week on proposed legislation that “would require companies to register, notify the state immediately of any reportable accidents and file reports every six months listing the miles traveled and hours on the road for testing.”

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